The prospect of gardaí accepting the Labour Court deal was dealt a blow yesterday after the executive body of the Garda Representative Association was unable to recommend it.
The ballot is due to go out to its 10,300 members on Friday, November 18, with a return date of December 5.
GRA sources confirmed that there would be no recommendation from the Central Executive Committee and that “it’s for members to decide”.
Sources said an information document will be supplied to members with the ballot — and that it will be posted on the GRA website.
The decision comes a full week after the Labour Court recommendation was made.
The failure of the CEC to recommend the deal will come as a disappointment, though not a surprise, to the Government and Garda management.
It makes for a nervous month, with GRA sources unsure if members will back the deal or reject it — reigniting the strikes.
There are well-publicised divisions within the CEC to the deal and the deferral of strike action — and to the leadership of the body.
General secretary Pat Ennis survived a motion of no-confidence, by 25 votes to 16, at a heated CEC meeting on Wednesday.
The association had narrowly decided, by 20 votes to 17, at the 11th hour on Thursday, November 3, to defer the first strike date, due to start at 7am on Friday.
Decisions on deferring the following three strike dates were made in another tense meeting of the CEC last Monday.
There has been no independent analysis of the pay implications of the deal to date.
An initial analysis based on early GRA estimates suggested the recommendation would benefit gardaí by roughly €2,800-€3,100 a year.
For new recruits the increase would be greater — their salary increasing from around €23,000 to €29,500, benefiting more than 500 recent graduates.
The Labour Court deal could cost the State in the region of €39m to €42m, with the caveat that the gains to the country’s 2,080 sergeants and inspectors is not as clear.
These increases do not factor in the €1,000 per annum increase given to all public servants under the Lansdowne Road Agreement.
It this payment is included, it could bring the overall cost to the State to between €43m and €50m.
The Government has roughly estimated the deal to cost in excess of €50m, depending on variables.
Yesterday’s meeting followed the vote of no-confidence on Wednesday, which was taken by members angry at a decision last Thursday by five members of the officer board to massively increase emergency cover for last Friday’s strike.
That increase was agreed with Garda management without consulting the CEC.
Meanwhile, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors is holding an “information seminar” for its members on November 21 on its ballot.
The AGSI National Executive agreed last Wednesday to recommend the deal to its 2,080 members.
The ballot is being sent out on November 23, with a result due in early December.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved